The Guardian reports: Children in Syria are suffering from “toxic stress”, a severe form of psychological trauma that can cause life-long damage, according to a study that charts a rise in self-harm and suicide attempts among children as young as 12.
A report by Save the Children and its partner agencies in Syria paints a harrowing picture of the country’s children, 5.8 million of whom are in need of aid, after a war which reaches its sixth year next week.
Authors of the study, the largest of its kind to be undertaken during the conflict, warned the nation’s mental health crisis had reached a tipping point, where “staggering levels” of trauma and distress among children could cause permanent and irreversible damage.
More than 70% of children interviewed experienced common symptoms of “toxic stress” or post-traumatic stress disorder, such as bedwetting, the study found. Loss of speech, aggression and substance abuse are also commonplace. About 48% of adults reported seeing children who have lost the ability to speak or who have developed speech impediments since the war began, according to the report, entitled Invisible Wounds (pdf). [Continue reading…]